Stone Crab & Baseball Mitt, Central & Gus
On the back:
JR de la Paz Stone Crab spent the day before the game harvesting and macerating coastal indigo, making a nice, bright salmon-pink paste, which would surely be visible even to those in the nosebleed seats. Carefully emblazoning the number 21 on his shell, he waited a few minutes for it to dry before tucking himself into bed early, knowing full well his excitement would impede sleep anyway.
Soon enough, the sun was up. Junior eagerly scurried onto the field. “Baseball is beautiful” he thought, “Governed not by a clock, it perfectly encapsulates the idea of an August afternoon, boundless and languid. Yet, at the same time, it so eloquently mirrors the pushes and pulls of society”.
Two outs into the seventh inning, a booming crack reverberates through the bleachers, delivering the ball well beyond the field and halfway into the neighboring village, finally leaving a good solid ding in the chocolate-coloured Alcan of the third house beyond Waveland Avenue. The crowd went silent in awe. At that moment, for that batter, who was only even standing in that box by sheer will; pure love of the game; and a rather large miracle, everything was awash with the notion of freedom and possibility. The team stood stunned. And a team they were, albeit a motley crew. They’d likely never have come together off the field, but here they had each other. Baseball was right that way; everyone comes based on their merit, ushering in a sort of equality rarely found outside the ballpark.
And with the number 21, today, it also represents hope, compassion, and brotherhood. First base...second base...third base...outfield...the pitcher...the catcher...and every single player still in the dugout: the entire team dons the number 21. Because they are a team; and because baseball isn’t just about baseball. It’s about those that are there on game day, and those that can’t be. It is about being a part of something: a country, a community, a cause. It is about passion and camaraderie, even in rivalry. It is about being a part of something...bigger. So, here’s to that seventh inning fly ball. And here’s to number 21.